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Chapter 3 The Old Syriac Aramaic Gospels

The Old Syriac is an ancient Aramaic version of the four Gospels, which was widely used until it was eclipsed by the Peshitta version of the Gospels in the late fifth or early sixth century. So complete was this eclipse that the version was totally lost until its recovery in the nineteenth century. Even now this version is only represented by two manuscripts, one from the fourth century, and one from the fifth century. The first manuscript obtained from the monastery of St. Mary Deipara in the valley of the Natron Lakes in Egypt in 1842. It was not until 1858 that Dr. William Cureton identified and published the text. This manuscript is called the Curetonian or Codex Syrus Curetonianus and is catalogued as British Museum Add. No. 14451. It is generally dated to the fifth century. The second manuscript was discovered by Agnes Smith Lewis at the St. Cathrine's Monastery on traditional Mt. Sinai in 1892. This manuscript is called the Syriac Siniatic or Codex Syrus Sinaiticus and is catalogued as Mt. Sinai Syriac Ms. No. 30. It is generally dated to the fourth century. The two manuscripts contain many variances from each other. Each occasionally agrees with the Peshitta against the other, however this is far more common with the Curetonian manuscript. Neither manuscript is complete but between the two of them we do have most of the text of the four Gospels in this version. Upon examining this version Dr. Cureton published a detailed study of the text along with his own conclusion saying: ...this Gospel of St. Matthew appears at least to be built upon the original Aramaic text which was the work of the Apostle himself. (Remains of a Very Ancient Recention of the Four Gospels in Syriac; Dr. William Cureton; 1858, p. vi) Matthew Black called Cureton's theory in this regard a "curiosity" stating: is a sufficient refutation... to point out... that Edessene Syriac, the language of the Curetonian version,

is a quite different branch of Aramaic from the Palestinian Jewish dialect which the Apostles spoke and in which any writings of theirs would presumably have composed. (An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts 3rd Edition; Matthew Black; 1967; p. 249) However, it is entirely plausible that the Old Syriac Gospels could represent the original Aramaic, regardless of their Syriac dialect. The first gentile assembly was at Antioch. According to Eusebius, Luke was raised at Antioch. Antioch served as the center of the gentile Messianic movement as Jerusalem served as the center of the Jewish movement. It would seem likely that many NT books might have been written in the Syriac dialect and still others may have been revised into the Syriac dialect. It must b remembered that Syriac Aramaic and Judean Aramaic are two dialects of the very same language. Moreover, as will be shown below, traces of the Judean Diaect of Aramaic remain in the Old Syriac Gospels. Thus the issue of dialect is not sufficient to dismiss the Old Syriac from being a part of the original Aramaic tradition.

A Discovery by George Lamsa?

In 1947 George Lamsa, a Peshitta Primacist, addressed the issue of the Old Syriac. Lamsa made the following claim: The "Old Syriac" manuscript of the four Gospels, known as the Sinaitic Palimpset, discovered by Mrs. Agnes Lewis in the Convent of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai in 1892, unfortunately was forged by the Monks, deliberately, before it was sold to Mrs. Lewis and her companions. They made a hole in the date of the manuscript, thus apparently increasing its age by 900 years. The work actually was finished in the year 1599 A.D.. ... The above mentioned error in date recently was discovered by the writer... (New Testament Origin by George M. Lamsa; 1947; p. 89) Lamsa's claims here make no sense at all and are manufactured in order to preserve his theory of Peshitta Primacy. First of all most of the information above is just plain false. Mrs. Lewis never purchased the manuscript from the monks, who were unwilling to part with it. To this very day the manuscript remains at the monastery (which Lamsa mistakenly refers to as a "convent"). Lamsa himself never examined the manuscript in question but made his "discovery" "after examining several other Four Gospel manuscripts which were brought to the Near East." Lamsa claimed that he had seen this same "malpractice" of "mutilated dates" on these other manuscripts (ibid). To begin wth in order to understand the issue we must point out that the manuscript in question is a "Palimpset", a manuscript in which an older text has been written over by a

more recent text. The only date is in a colophon to the more recent text which was, according to the scribe, made in the 1090th year since the righn of Alexander the Great began. This places the date of the re-use of the manuscript surface in the 8th century. There is no way that a hole in the manuscript could add 900years to that dating syste, nor would it place the date at 1599. However, what is truly of interest to us is the original text below the second usage (the second usage records the life of some martyrs). This older text is the Old Syriac and it had to have been penned long before the manuscript was recycled. Paleographic evidence is generally used to date ancient manuscripts and that is the case here. The style of the script is that of the fourth century and this agrees with the external evidence. As will be shown below, this date for the manuscript is in keeping with the evidence of the usage of the Old Syriac text by sources in the fourth century and earlier.

The Jewish and Judean Character of the Old Syriac

One of the striking features of the Old Syriac version is its Jewish and Judean character. Despite the fact that the text is written in the Syriac Aramaic dialect, it is replete with elements of Jewish and/or Judean Aramaic which are alien to Syriac Aramaic, as well as to other Jewish elements. Mt. 3:4 OS(s): and honey of the open country ()rw+) P & OS(c): and honey of the wilderness ()rb) (agrees with Greek) Lk. 12:28 OS(c) the grass of the open country that today is in the open country ()rw+) OS(s) the grass of that today is in the open country ()rw+) P: the grass that today is in the field ()lqx) (agrees with Greek) In Syriac Aramaic the word )rw+ can only refer to hills or mountains, but in the Judean dialect the word could also refer to the "open country" as it is used here. Mt. 9:18 OS: a certain ruler of their synagogue came and fell down ... (Nwht#wnk br) P: a certain ruler came and fell down...()nwkr)) (Agreeing exactly with the Greek's arxwn) Mt. 18:17 OS(s) ...tell it to the assembly... ()t#wnk) P & OS(c) ...tell it to the assembly... ()td() This section of Matthew is a discussion of the law of witnesses (Mt. 18:16 = Dt. 19:25) and halachic authority to bind (forbid) or loose (permit) activities (Mt. 18:18). The word in the Old Syriac ()t#wnk) is commonly used in Jewish Aramaic for a halachic court.

Mt. 23:5 and they widen the straps of their tefillin (Nwhylptd )qr() P: and they widen their teffilin... (Nwhylpt) Lk. 1:39 OS:...and went-up quickly to a mountain, to a city of Judea. (qls) P: ...and went quickly to a mountain, to a city of Judea. (tlz)) (agreeing with the Greek) Here the Old Syriac makes use of a common idiom in Hebrew and in Jewish Aramaic whereby any approach to Jerusalem or Judea is describe as "going up" but the Jewish idiom is lost here in the Greek and in the Peshitta. Lk. 2:1 ...Augustus Caesar had decreed all the Land that they should be enrolled. ()(r) hlwk) P: ...all the people of his dominion... (hndxw)d )m( hlk) Gk: ... all the world... (pasan thn oikoumehn) In Jewish Aramaic the word )9(r) has the same usage as the Hebrew cognate Cr). It can mean "world, earth or land" and is often used as a euphemism for the Land of Israel as it is here. The Greek has misunderstood the meaning of he word as "world". Lk. 2:14 peace on earth, and good-will to the sons of men ()tw(r)) P: ... and a good hope to the sons of men ()b+ )rbsw) And let the king send his good-will to us concerning this matter (tw(r) (Ezra 5:17) you after the good-will of your God. (tw(r) (Ezra 8:18) So intolerable is the word in Syriac Aramaic that the Peshitta text for these passages of Ezra renders the word with Syriac )nybc. Lk. 2:22 ... days of her purification The Peshitta Aramaic has Nwhtykdtd "of their purification" in agreement with the Greek. The Old Syriac is more accurate in reading htykdtd "of her purification". It was Miriam (Mary) only who needed a purification ritual after forty days as described in the Torah (Lev. 12:1-8). The Old Syriac displays a knowledge of Judaism which is absent in the Peshitta and the Greek.

Lk. 6:22 the Aramaic phrase #ybd )m# is poorly rendered in the Greek to mean "name as evil" but is better understood as the Hebrew and Jewish Aramaic idiom "evil name" meaning "to have a bad reputation" (see Deut. 22:13, 19) Lk. 8:27 OS(s) a certain man from the province ()tnydm) (agrees with Peshitta) Lk. 8:39 and he was proclaiming in all the province ()tnydm) (agrees with Peshitta) (In both cases the Greek takes the word to mean "city") In Hebrew and Jewish-Aramaic writings, from the earliest attested use of the word down through the first few centuries after Christ, medina has the meaning `province'; in the Gentile usage it always and everywhere means `city'. (Harvard Theological Review, Vol. XVII (1924) p. 84) Lk. 11:10 OS(s) and whoever knocks it will be opened to him (#qm) P & OS(c): and whoever knocks it will be opened to him (#qn) Lk. 13:25 OS(s) and knock on the door (Ny#qm) P & OS(c): and knock on the door (Ny#qn) In Syriac Aramaic this word usually appears in the Peal form (#qn) and in fact nowhere else in Syriac (besides these two instances in the Old Syriac) does this verb appear in the Aphel form (#qm). The Aphel form is, however, common in the Judean dialect. Lk. 23:2 that he is King Messiah ()xy#m )klm wywhd) P: that he is a king, the Messiah ()xy#m wh )klmd) (agrees with Greek) Here the Old Syriac uses the common messianic title "King Messiah" so common to Jewish literature. Jn 3:2 no one can do these miracles ()sn) P: no one can do these signs ()twt)) Jn 4:48 if miracles and signs you see not... ()sn) P: if signs and wonders you see not... ()twt)) The word )sn is rare in Syriac and never appears in the Peshitta NT. However this word is commonly used in the Judean dialect. Jn. 9:16 "he keeps not the sabbath and he made clay"()ny+ wh lbgw)

The reading is unique and reveals a detailed knowledge of Jewish halacha. Yeshua was not being accused of healing on the Sabbath, but of making clay, one of the categories of work forbidden in the Mishna. Hebrew Matthew and the Old Syriac An important quality of the Old Syriac Aramaic is its close agreement with Hebrew Matthew as represented by the DuTillet and Shem Tob versions. In the first two chapters it was established that the text of Hebrew Matthew is indeed an ancient Hebrew text which is not a translation of any known Greek or Latin version. The frequent agreement between the Old Syriac and Hebrew Matthew, combined with a lack of correspondence between definite articles (in DuTillet and the Greek) point to Hebrew Matthew as the source for the Old Syriac Aramaic Matthew (see chapters one and two for documentation). Among the more telling connections are: 1:13 The DuTillet Hebrew manuscript of Matthew contains the missing name rnb) "Abner" (A Hebrew name which is sometimes spelled rnyb)) which occurs between dwhyb) Abiud and Eliakim in the DuTillet Hebrew text of Mt. 1:13. The Old Syriac Aramaic version of Matthew has rwyb) "Aviur" where the Peshitta and Greek have "Aviud" (=dwyb)). 5:34 DT: hmh Myhl) )sk yk "for it is Elohim's throne (theirs)" OS: )hl)d Nwn) hysrwkd "which is Eloah's (their) throne" (both have the same grammatical error!) The Old Syriac and the Masoretic Text Like Hebrew Matthew, the Old Syriac tends to agree with the Masoreic Text in its Tanak quotes, even where the Greek NT and sometimes even the Peshitta follow the LXX or have some other disagreement. The following are just a few examples: Mt. 4:4 = Deut. 8:3 ­ Here the Old Syriac agrees with the Masoretic Text, Hebrew Matthew and the Peshitta Tanak reading "Lord" ()yrm = hwhy) while the Peshitta has "God" ()hl)) in agreement with the Greek NT and LXX. Mt. 13:35 = Ps. 78:2 - The Old Syriac and Peshitta both include the phrase Mydq Nmd "that were from before" which is taken directly from the Hebrew Tanak, Hebrew Matthew and the Aramaic Peshitta Tanak which has Mdq ynm the Greek NT has "from the foundation of the world" while the LXX has "from the beginning".

Mt. 22:37 = Deut. 6:5 ­ The Old Syriac has "your strength" (Klyx) in agreement with the Hebrew Tanak, Aramaic Peshitta Tanak, and Hebrew Matthew. Greek Matthew appears to have misread Klyx "your strength" as Knwh (dianoia sou) "your mind". Then the Peshitta scribe in revising the Aramaic to agree with the traditional Greek text, conflated the reading by including both "your strength" and "your mind" but translating dianoia sou (your mind) with Kny(. (The evidence that the Peshitta Gospels represent such a revision will be given in the next chapter). Lk. 3:4-6 = Is. 40:3-6 The Old Syriac and the Peshitta include the phrase "in the plain" )t(qpk which agrees exactly with the Peshitta Tanak and parallels hbr(b "in the desert" in the Hebrew however disagreeing with the Greek of Luke which quotes the LXX. The Acts of Thomas and the Old Syriac One of the most ancient documents circulated in the early Church of the East was the apocryphal "Acts of Thomas". The acts themselves may well be a first century production. They recount the story of how Thomas brought the Messianic movement to the East. Within this ancient document the Lord's Prayer is quoted verbatim as it appears in the Old Syriac rather than the Peshitta version. The Doctrine of `Addai and the Old Syriac Another foundational document in the ancient Church of the East is "The Doctrine of `Addai". According to the tradition of the Church of the East this book was delivered to them in the first century by the Apostle `Addai (Thaddeus). There are a number of places in which `Addai quotes or cites the Gospels in agreement with the Old Syriac against the Peshitta (and the Greek): `Addai = OS <> P Mt. 24:27 for as the lightning is seen from the east unto the west (qrb) P: for as the lightning comes out from the east unto the west (qpn) Lk. 10:1 - The Doctrine of `Addai identifies `Addai as as one of the 72 in agreement with the Old Syriac of Luke 10:1 which Yeshua designates 72 disciples. However in both the Peshitta and the Greek there are only 70 chosen in Luke 10:1. Jn. 14:26 ­ The Doctrine of `Addai treats the Paraklete as feminine in this passage, in agreement with the Old Syriac but in disagreement with the Peshitta which treats the word as masculine.

Aphraates and the Old Syriac Another ancient Aramaic "Church Father" of the "Church of the East" was Aphraates whoh wrote his Homilies in the years 337, 344, and 345 CE. In his Homilies, Aphraates often quotes the Aramaic of the Gospels in agreement with the Old Syriac against the Peshitta. The following are just a few examples: Aph. = OS <> P Mt. 2:20 (c) & Hom. 405 + "to snatch away" Mt. 5:18 (s) & Hom. 30 ­"or one stroke" Mt. 6:19 (c) & Hom. 389 "where the moth falls and corrupts" Lk. 6:24 (s) & Hom. 390 "your supplication" Lk. 12:19 (c) & Hom. 381 "and he says to his soul" Lk. 19:44 (c) & Hom. 412 "the day of your greatness" Lk. 22:43 (c) & Hom. 266 & 437 "The Garden of Eden" Lk. 22:48 & Hom. 271 +"Woe to us! What has befallen us!" Jn. 1:14 & Hom. 120, 167 "The Word (feminine) became a body...." Ephraim and the Old Syriac Among the best known and highly revered Aramaic "Church Fathers" of the "Church of the East" was the fourth century "Church Father" Ephraim Syrus. Ephraim often quoted and cited the Gospels in his works, often agreeing with the Old Syriac against the Peshitta. The following are a few examples: Eph. = OS <> P Mt. 3:17 (s & c) & Lk. 3:22 (s) Rom. V 545 A & vi 16 c (`Quotations' 28) "and my beloved" (ybybxw) DuTillet Hebrew: ybwx) "my beloved" But P has )bybx "the beloved" (as does the Greek) Mt. 4:5 (c) & Lk. 4:9 (s) Lammy iv 525 and ii 815 (`Quotations' 69) "pinnacle ()nrq) of the Temple" (Mt.(c) & Lk (s)

But P & Mt. (s) have )pnk Mt. 4:6 (s) Lamy iv 523 "fall from hence" Eph: )km Ml lpd OS(s): )kmh Nm lp (DuTillet Hebrew: h+ml lpnth "fall down") But P has txtl K#pn yd# "cast yourself down" Mt. 5:39 , Lk. 6:29 Nis. 72(124) (`Quotations' 28) -right Mt. 10:5(s) Lammy iv 545 )krk "town" But the Peshitta has )tnydm "city or province" Mt. 16:19(c) Lamy I 267 (`Quotations' 30) OS(c): )ym#d )twklmd )(rtd )dylq) lt) Kl "To you I will give the keys of the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven" Ephraim: )(rtd )dylq lt) Kl "To you I will give the keys of the doors" Mt. 18:22 Nis. 72(168) (`Quotations' 32) OS and Ephraim agree in using the Aramaic idiomatic form of the number "seventy times seven times" using the Aramaic word l( thus Ephraim writes "Ny(b# l( Ml (b#" and the Old Syriac has: "(b# (b# Ny(b# l(" but the Peshitta rigidly follows the Greek idiom with: (b# (b# Nyzbn Ny(b#l )md( Mt. 23:8 Rom. V 491 B (`Quotations' 36) Nwrqt )l "you shall not call" But P has Nwrqtt )l "you shall not be called" as does the Greek. Lk. 23:38 Lamy i 667 (`Quotations' 47) )q+p "tablet" But the Peshitta has )btk "inscription"

Lk. 23:43(c) Lamy I 667, 669 (`Quotations' 47) OS(c) "Garden of Eden"; Ephraim: "Eden" But Peshitta (and OS(s)) has "Paradise" as does the Greek. Jn. 1:3 (c) Rom. Iv 18 E (`Quotations' 48) twh )dx )l p) yhwd(lbw )wh hb Mdm lk "Everything existed through him, and without him not even one thing existed of that which existed." But P has )whd Mdm twh )l p) yhwd(lbw )wh hdy)b lk (agreeing closely with the Greek) (Here Ephraim quotes the Old Syriac verbatim against the Peshitta) Jn. 12:2(s) Lamy i 255 (`Quotations' 51f.) OS(s): )t#m#tb twh )yn( Nyd )trm "But Martha was occupied in serving" Eph: )t#m#tb twh )yn( )trm dk "While Martha was occupied in serving" (Both Ephraim and OS parallel Lk. 10:40 here; Ephraim here is in context alluding to the events of Jn. 12:2 rather than Lk. 10:40) But P has twh )#m#m )trmw "And Martha served" agreeing with the Greek. Jn. 13:5(s) Lamy i 657 (`Quotations' 52) OS(s): )tgy#d )nqlb "in a dish of washing" Eph: )nqlb "in a dish" But P has )tg#mb "in a basin" Jn. 16:11(s) Rom. iv 37 F (`Quotations' 54) hnwkr)d "because his ruler" But P has )nwkr)d "because the ruler" Jn. 17:11(s) Rom. vi 122 c (`Quotations' 54) "take, keep" r+ bs But P has "keep" r+ in agreement with the Greek.

The Old Syriac and Scribal Errors

There are a number of instances where divergences between the Old Syriac and Greek Matthew point to a scribal error in the Aramaic. In many of these cases the readings of the Old Syriac may well be original while the Greek may express the scribal error: Mt. 1:21(c) he shall save the world ()ml(l) Gk: he shall save his people (hm(l) = OS(s) & P Mt. 3:10 And lo, the axe has arrived... ()hw) = P Gk. And now also, the axe has arrived... ()#hw) Mt. 5:29 should go to GeyHinnom (lz)n) Gk: should fall into GeyHinnom ()lpn) = P Mt. 11:20 in which he showed many mighty works ()lyx Nyhb ywxd) Gk: in which his mighty works had been done (yhwlyx Nyhb wwhd) = P Mt. 12:15 OS: and many men followed him ())ygs )#n)) (agrees with Alexandrian Greek text type) Peshitta has "large crowds" ())ygs )#nk) in agreement with Greek Western Text type of Codex D. (obviously this variant is due to a scribal error which originated in the Aramaic). Mt. 13:48 chose out fishes, the good as good (Nyb+) Gk: chose out fishes, the good into baskets (Nynmb) Mt. 16:7 they had not carried bread (wbsn) = P Gk: they had not taken bread (Nbsn) Mt. 20:11 and when they saw they murmured (wzx) Gk: and when they received they murmured (wzx)) Mt. 21:16 they said, hear you not (tn) (m# )l Nyrm)) Gk: they said to him, hear you (tn) (m# hl Nyrm)) = P Mt. 21:24 I will also ask you this word ()dh )tlm) Gk: I will ask you one word ()dx )tlm) = P Mt. 22:37 with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Klyx) (agrees with the Masoretic Text of Deut. 6:4) Gk: with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind(Knwh) Mt. 23:5 they widen the straps of their T'ffilin (Nwhylptd )qr()

The singular would be: "Straps of their T'ffila" ()lpt qr() Gk: they widen their amulets (Phylacteries) (fulakthria) = ()r(tqlp) (Greek represents a rearrangement of the same letters of )lpt qr() Mt. 23:16 He that swears by the Temple, it hurts not ()km )l) Gk: He that swears by the Temple, it is nothing (Mdm )l) Mt. 23:16 He that swears by the gold in the Temple sins ()+x) Gk: He that swears by the gold in the Temple is obligated (b)x) = P Mk. 7:26 a widow from the border of Tyre ()tlmr)) Gk: a Syrian from the border of Tyre ()tymr)) Lk. 2:30 my eyes have seen your mercy (Knnx) = P Gk: my eyes have seen your salvation (Kyyx) Lk. 20:46 to walk on porches ()w+s)b) Gk: to walk in robes ()l+s)b) = P Lk. 24:32 were not our hearts heavy (ryqy) = P Gk: were not our hearts burning (dyqy) (to have a heavy heart is a Aramaic idiom meaning to have a sluggish mind compare vs. 25) Jn. 4:52 in the ninth hour the fever left him ((#t) Gk: in the seventh hour the fever left him ((b#) = P

The Old Syriac and Synoptic Variance

Many readings in the Old Syriac Aramaic seem to explain divergences between the Greek texts of the Synoptic Gospels. The following are some examples: Due to ambiguity: Mt. 4:19 = Lk. 5:10 "fishers of men" and "catch men" the variance is due to the single Aramaic word )dyc Mt. 16:26 & Mk. 8:36 = Lk. 9:25 "self" and "life" the variance is due to a single Aramaic word h#pn

Mt. 11:27 = Lk. 10:22 "and no one knows the Son" and "and no one knows who the Son is" both are attempts at translating )rbl (dy #n) )lw Mt. 27:15 = Lk. 23:17 "accustomed" and "necessary" are alternate translations of d(m Due to scribal error in the Aramaic: Mt. 8:16 = Lk. 4:20 & Mk. 1:32 "evening" ()#mr) and "sun" ()#m#) Mt. 16:6 = Mk. 8:15 "beware" (wrhdz)) and "take heed" (wrxwzx) Mt. 22:22 = Lk. 20:26 "they left" (wqb#) "they were silent" (wqt#) Mt. 25:25, 28 = Lk. 19:17, 19 "cities" (Nykrk) and "coins" (Nyrkk) Mt. 28:1 = Mk. 16:1 "evening" ()#mr = DuTillet Hebrew br() "had passed" ()rb()

Ambiguous Aramaic Phrases Mistranslated in the Greek

There are also many places where the Greek translator seems to have mistranslated ambiguous Aramaic words an phrases from the Old Syriac. The following are a few examples: Mt. 5:32 = Mk. 10:11 = Lk. 16:18 the ambiguous phrase hl rygm is translated in the Greek to mean "makes her an adulteress" but is better understood as "commits adultery with her". Mt. 15:34 the ambiguous phrase )rw(n )nwn is misunderstood by the Greek to mean "little fishes" but is better understood as "few fishes". Mt. 19:24 = Mk. 10:25 = Lk. 18:25 the Aramaic word )lmg is mis-translated in the Greek text to mean "camel" but is better translated here as "rope." Mt. 26:6 = Mk. 14:3 the Aramaic word )brg is translated as "leper" but is better understood as "jar maker"; "jar merchant" or "potter". Mt. 26:41 = Mk. 14:38 the Aramaic word wdy(t) is understood by the Greek to mean "watch" but is better understood as meaning "awake". Mk. 9:15 the Aramaic word whwt is understood in the Greek to mean "amazed" but is better understood as "excited."

Mk. 10:12 = Lk. 16:18 the Aramaic phrase hl(b )qb#d is understood in the Greek as "who divorces her husband" but is better understood as "who is divorced by her husband" but is better understood as "who is divorced by her husband". Mk. 14:3 & Jn. 12:3 the Aramaic word )qtsyp is misunderstood in the Greek as a transliteration of the Greek word pistikhj "pure" but is in fact the Aramaic word for "Pistachio" with exactly the same spelling as in the Talmud (b.Gittin 69). Lk. 2:1 the Aramaic phrase )(r) hlwk is understood by the Greek to mean "all the world" but is better understood as "all the Land". Lk. 6:22 the Aramaic phrase #ybd )m# is poorly rendered in the Greek to mean "name as evil" but is better understood as the Semitic idiom "evil name" meaning "to have a bad reputation" (see Deut. 22:13, 19) Lk. 8:27 the ambiguous Aramaic word )tnydm is understood by the Greek to mean "city" but here means "province". Lk. 10:4 the ambiguous Aramaic phrase )l )xrw)b #n)d )ml#bw is understood in the Greek to mean "and salute no man on the way" but is better translated "and join no man on the way." Lk. 12:49 the Aramaic phrase )n) )bc )mw is understood in the Greek to mean "and what do I desire if..." but is better understood here as "how I wish..." Lk. 16:16 the ambiguous Aramaic phrase Cbxtm hl to mean "brought into it by violence" but is better understood to mean "to it is violent." Jn. 8:56 the Aramaic word xwsm is understood in the Greek to mean "rejoiced" but is better understood here as "longed".

Puns, Wordplays and Alliteration in the Old Syriac

There are several examples of wordplays in the Old Syriac: Mt. 7:10 "shall indeed die" (twmn tmm) Mt. 8:2 = Lk. 5:12 " man ()rbg) a leper ()brg)" Mt. 10:13 "and when you enter a house give a greeting ()ml#) to that house, and if it be that that house is worthy, your peace (Nwkml#) shall be upon it; and if not, your peace (Nwkml#) upon you shall return."

Mt. 10:30 "But the locks of your hair ()nm) are all of them numbered (Nynm)" Mt. 27:6 "the price ()ymdd) of blood ()mdd)" Lk. 7:8 "and to my slave (db(lw) do this (db(d) and he does it (db(w)" Lk. 7:41-42 " was indebted (byx)... which of them will be loving (yhwybx) to him more..." Jn. 8:34 "He who commits (rb(d) sin is the slave ()db() of sin."

Conclusion The Old Syriac Gospels represent an Aramaic version of the Gospels which, has a great affinity for Hebrew Matthew, and in fact the Old Syriac Matthew may well represent an Aramaic translation of Hebrew Matthew. This ancient Aramaic text was quoted and used by the most ancient Aramaic sources including the Acts of Thomas; Doctrine of `Addai; Homilies of Aphraates and various writings by Ephraim Syrus. This version had a uniquely Judaic character, often followed the Masoetic Text in quoting the Tanak and contained elements of the Judean dialect of Aramaic within it.



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